Reduce Conflict and Insecurity by tackling corruption: your research can help

Reduce Conflict and Insecurity by tackling corruption: your research can help

UN Photo / Tim McKulka

By Ivo Jongejan

Corruption is a major driver of conflict. When kleptocratic, corrupt regimes siphon off public wealth and fail to provide citizens with adequate services, it can fuel support for terrorist organisations and organised crime. Corruption also hollows out state security institutions; around the world, armies are failing to contain insurgencies as they suffer the effects of sub-par or missing equipment, inadequate leadership and soldiers that exist only on paper.

Transparency International UK’s Defence & Security Programme works to tackle corruption in the security sector. We do this by engaging with governments, armed forces and defence companies to raise awareness and provide practical tools and training to decision-makers. We also monitor defence corruption risks with our Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index and our Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index.

Our team working on state fragility and conflict focuses on the relationship between corruption and conflict.

 We engage with national governments, civil society, defence and security forces, and donors to address corruption challenges in fragile states and tackle the corruption that generates and sustains conflict. We’re also developing a toolbox for dealing with corruption challenges on international interventions and in security assistance, so that we can press international policymakers to do the same. We’re keen to work with researchers to learn exactly how corruption works in conflict environments and fragile states, and to identify innovative and effective ways of addressing this challenge. 

Our work with developed and transition states contributes to consolidating security and stability through helping more stable governments in key states design and implement anti-corruption reforms in the defence sector.

We also aim to work with international organisations on defence capacity building schemes, and to engage parliamentarians and civil societies in order to build up sustainable oversight of the defence and security sector. We are particularly interested in measuring the impact of anti-corruption initiatives, including our own recommendations, and invite researchers to work with us to find out what really works.

By engaging with defence companies and analysing the arms trade, arms transfers, and defence contracting, we aim to bring transparency and accountability to an industry that has traditionally operated opaquely. 

We work alongside governments and contractors to influence behaviour on key issues such as military-owned businesses, offset contracting and export controls. We would especially welcome help from researchers to identify tools that reduce corruption in arms transfers and defence procurement.

If you would like to work with us or hear more about what we do, please do get in touch.

Ivo Jongejan is an Advocacy and Communications Officer with Transparency International’s Defence & Security Programme. He can be reached at